Climbing out of KDFW last evening, Dallas Fort-Worth. New 777 in FedEx colors, “Flying Panda.”
I’ve had a number of days to think about writing something like this. I know Tom is busy with much more important things right now, but, I hope someone will show him this link, and we can both remember the good ole days. I hope you bear with me, I am not as eloquent a writer as Tom is.
I had the pleasure of starting to get to know Tom Allensworth, Bob Kirkland, and the rest of the family of AVSIM back in 2006. I was relatively new to both flight sim and my IT career. Little did I know, after they read my short, apparently enticing resume, they would call me.
I first volunteered for AVSIM as a front page news editor. I guess somewhere in the background, talks were already underway between Tom, Bob, and Matt Johnson about getting Matt help with all things IT for the site. So, a few weeks before the San Diego show, my phone rang, and Bob K was on the phone, inviting me to San Diego to meet Matt and the rest of the family. Plans we’re made, plane tickets bought, and I was on my way.
To make a long story short, I didn’t pack the right shoes. Little did I know, my friendship with the Allensworths would start that weekend, with his wife playing Doctor mom and assisting on my blister. lol Later that evening, as the weekend wound down, we also rode the same red-eye back to DC, we then said our goodbyes and I continued on to SC. Just one show, one meeting in what has now, to me, become a much too short time.
Later on, in 2008, for some stupid reason, I decided I was “done” with flight sim, and AVSIM. I never had the right words to explain to Tom, Bob, that no, it wasn’t AVSIM, I just couldn’t handle the comments, the constant putting down of AVSIM, the arrogant stance of many in the overall community. What I failed to consider was the sheer size of what Tom had built. The nay-sayers were the very few of the whole. In hind site, I should have stayed.
Then, in 2009, the unthinkable happened. Someone they had vetted to replace me with the magical keys to the city, hacked AVSIM from the inside. My phone rang again. And again I offered my services, along with a few others, and sprang into action to bring the wonderful community back to life. We planned out what to do. As donations poured in, that quickly changed, and we spec’ed out and ordered new servers, switches and all new hardware. I spent Labor Day weekend in the NOC, with our brand new servers, with Matt on the phone from London and worked our magic. The hack had taken SOME of us, but not all of us, and we had enough to recover.
Several years later, I was back in DC, The Dulles Hyatt, where I had also attended a couple AVSIM FanCons as well. The hotel had seemed to become our unofficial AVSIM HQ. It felt like a second home coming there. I was there, to install a new backup plan and system, to ensure we NEVER lost AVSIM again.
After my work, Tom had driven up to spend the weekend, have some drinks, and just chat. You wonder why I talk a little about me in this entire story? Tom said something to me that weekend that has stuck ever since. “John, you don’t talk enough about yourself.” A few simple words, that through my years in 1991-1995, I had forgotten when I was a Marine. I am a hella lot better then I give myself credit for. And in one, short, sweet sentence, Tom picked it right out.
Now, I cannot speak about Bob K, we were asked not to, and I hope he will chime in if he feels up to it. We all miss him too. But this story now needs to be about Tom. Tom was like a 3rd father to me. (I had 2 already you see, my bio-father who passed a year ago January and my stepdad.) Tom always asked how I was doing, how things were. Yes, there was a LOT of times we didn’t see eye to eye. And some other times he talked me out of bringing someone to Canada with me. (Oh was he SO right on that one.) I wish i could have given Tom more of my time. Given a little bit more and stayed a little calmer through all those calls, all those arguments. But hey, back in the day, Tom was the pilot, I was the dog. He was there to feed me, I was there to make sure he didn’t touch anything.
But Tom already knew the back end very well. A couple years prior we had also worked on upgrading the overall feel of the website to what you see today in 2015. LOTS of arguments, LOTS of hair pulling, but, we got it done. And it continues to evolve today.
Tom, If nothing else, I am praying for you and your family now. Praying there is some miracle out there. Like my father, your time is much too short and now IS NOT your time to leave us. I am sorry we have lost touch these last couple of years. My own life, more then anything, got in the way. I made some choices that are still affecting me, and for the ones that may have in any way hurt you or AVSIM, I am truly sorry. But, I hope overall, I helped AVSIM to get to where it is, even if in some small way, and your legacy will live on.
I couldn’t just put one small post on the forums about you, about AVSIM. And I am sure there is so many more words I am leaving out. I pray for the best, and hope some way, some how, we get to have a drink together again.
Tom, Denise, From the bottom of my heart and to your entire family, I love you. Thank you for ALL you have done for me, for the AVSIM family, for ALL of us. Semper Fi, Vivat Jesus, and Carpe Diem.
Had my followup this morning. Mixed bag of news. I guess, again, I need to see the big picture, but so many little things bother me. So, good news first:
well, I guess that is it for good news, at least in my mind. So, the bad:
So, the plan is this. Today, I am going to get new laces for my sneakers, and 4 new pairs of sweat pants. I have a gym in my apartment complex, and I will hit that damn treadmill till it screams for mercy. Ok, it cant talk, so, I will be doing no less then 45 mins A DAY, no exceptions, EVERY day. On days I have tarp duty for the colorguard, I will give myself an exception, come see a Cadet Shen show you’ll understand. lol
Food intake: cut back ALL alcohol to no more then once a week, and even then cut down on those nights too. For the most part, I was good over the holidays, but, I will cut it down even more. Lunches, switching to a wrap, or 6″ sub at most, and will find alternative food to bring in. Breakfast, switching to ONE Kind bar or less. Snacks will be carrots, celery, you get the idea.
I know I need to keep looking at the averages from last 3 months on my sugar levels, but as they creep back up, whatever the reason was, I am doubling-down my efforts. I REFUSE to let this shit beat me.
So I know I title this “A New Me” when I blog, but, I guess in reality that new me is learning how to control my sugar better. Along with that, will come the new me I am sure. At 41, my body decided to teach me a lesson I guess, and being overweight, etc etc and diabetes, hypertension, and all the lovely things that go along with it hit me; almost on queue, in July….when I turned 41. lol
Ok, universe, I hear you.
With that being said, I am learning I can “oops” here and there and still keep my levels in check. I also learned, thanks to some great reading on Mayo Clinic website, the American Diabetes website, and other trusted venues that a 2-hour after meal reading of under 160 is actually ok. Being my over-achieving self, I was aiming for 120, but quickly learned and got replies from everyone that I am doing ok.
I haven’t talked much about the hypertension because, honestly, it’s been a non-issue. I was prescribed a med for that back in April and it immediately came back in check. Normal BP. Granted, I have the added “bonus” of feeling drowsy MOST of the time, but I am finding ways to “cure” that too; a short story there…..back when I was a kid growing up, going to Shen, my step-father would see me tired, moping around, etc….he’d tell me to go do something, cut the grass, snow-blow the driveway, something. Well, that stuck with me all my life. Granted, I know some people are going yeah right, you’re huge now, and I am. But, it’s amazing what a quick paced walk, some push-ups, etc can do to get me over the sleepiness. And on Sundays, well blah I just relax. lol
And I am keeping my brain active as well. In addition to actual paid-for work, I am a member of the Knights of Columbus (of which I am now the membership Chancellor), I DJ for an online radio station, I’ve taken on the Color-guard home-show program duties, I’ve worked all but one concert or event to raise money for my daughter’s color-guard. Why am I telling all of this? Because in getting semi-active again, and yes I have a LONG way to go, but in doing all of that I have discovered I CAN cheat here and there and keep my numbers in check my MOVING! I’ve seen what days of vegging can do to the sugar levels, and they suck.
So I guess in summary, here are the changes so far: Cut back first from 4+ Diet Mt. Dews a day to none, then cut back to only ONE Diet soda of ANY kind a day at most, to now less then a few a week. I have reduced my portions of foods, and in some cases removed a lot of foods from my diet. Pastas for example used to be a weekly thing for me. Now, I only cook it or eat it occasionally. I am eating more chicken (much to my daughter’s happiness, since it’s her favorite food), more proteins. I have started walking more, not minding the walk from the parking in the mornings or getting up off my ass to go do something.
Baby steps. It took me 20+ years to get to this weight, I know it’s not going to fall off overnight, but I am getting there. And along with saying goodbye to that weight, I am hopeful the diabetes will correct itself as well.
And then there is that idea that someone gave me a few years ago…..to apply to biggest loser. I mean, what producer wouldn’t wanna see a former Marine get back IN shape, and wear my blues at the reveal? Hmmmmmm, it’s a thought…..to be continued…….
Well, today and last night were not perfect. Saturday night wasn’t so bad, I had unlimited soup with salad at Chili’s. I did the chili, which seemed better then other options, and the salad with ONE dressing total. Yes I did have an adult beverage, but even those I have cut WAY back on. Still, my sugar has been creeping back up again. Then tonight, ugh.
The overall average is down drastically, say 14-day or even 30-day averages, but these one-off spikes bother me. All the reading I do about this and trying to get myself better says even a short-term spike can have long-term issues overall. Then there is stress. Along with the stress I can feel tonight, I KNOW it’s playing a role in the numbers being elevated again. Stress, body’s fight or flight, and more sugar gets generated by the body.
It’s the season. But, who am I kidding my stress levels have been elevated for going on 4 years now. Coupled with the season….yeah, it’s a different kind of stress for me then most, but trying to be a single dad and support all of this, and keep it going…..and my number is up again. It’s a never ending fight for all of us isn’t it? Balancing a budget, trying to support however many you need to, and then trying to plan how much I should be socking away for later in life. It’s all starting to catch up with me.
I’ll keep going, brighter notes were almost ZERO diet soda this weekend. I think I had ONE total. I did have coffee this evening with my son, but even with the caffeine in it, it’s still a more natural variety, with the yellow packet sweeter and NO sugar. yes more carbs then I wanted with diner, but I know where they were and how to eat better tomorrow to come back.
I guess the hardest part of living with this disease is self awareness, and I am definitely watching this more intently then I used to watch that RADAR scope. Which is to say, like a well trained hawk.